A beautician at Boots speaking to a customer

To better understand our environmental, social and economic impacts throughout our operations, Walgreens Boots Alliance conducted a CSR materiality assessment in fiscal 2018 to encourage insightful stakeholder dialogue, to inform our evolving sustainability strategy and to form the basis for our public CSR reporting.

Our size means that we can have a significant economic impact in the countries and regions where we do business.

We engaged global nonprofit Forum for the Future to guide us on the materiality assessment. Through stakeholder engagement for the assessment, we identified our CSR material topics, which are those that can reasonably be considered important to reflect our Company’s economic, environmental and social impacts or those that may impact the decisions of stakeholders. 

Forum for the Future worked with us to conduct 60 in-depth stakeholder interviews on a range of topics. Stakeholders included suppliers, employees, customers, the media, nonprofit groups, investors and regulatory bodies. Additionally, through a third party, we conducted surveys with thousands of customers in our two largest markets: the U.S. and the UK.
By going through this process of identifying material CSR issues, we endeavor to adhere to best practices in corporate sustainability reporting and follow GRI reporting requirements.
Our CSR materiality matrix (see below) shows the results of the assessment: the issues deemed material to our Company from a CSR perspective.

Our mapping of CSR material topics shows how they link to GRI Topic Specific Standards and the UN SDGs. Please refer to our 2018 CSR Report to see how we mapped material topics to the GRI Topic Specific Standards and the UN SDGs and how we fulfilled GRI reporting requirements.

CSR materiality matrix

The following matrix shows the issues that were deemed material to our Company from a CSR perspective. Shading indicates higher, moderate and lower priority topics, and color coding indicates how each topic aligns with our four CSR focus areas and our governance practices.


Definitions of CSR topics

In the following table we provide definitions for our CSR material topics – the moderate and higher priority issues on the matrix, and for the lower priority topics.

Higher priority

Material Topic


Topic #

Access to affordable and quality healthcare

Supporting Walgreens Boots Alliance customers, employees, community members and other stakeholders to easily access affordable, quality prescriptions, immunizations and health services


Product safety

Ensuring that products sold, including their ingredients, meet rigorous safety standards that in some cases go above and beyond regulation


Consumer health education and marketing

Through campaigns and other communication tools, raising awareness among consumers and sharing information about critical health issues, prevention tips and other health-related information, such as smoking cessation


Responsible and ethical supply chains

Driving good practices across Walgreens Boots Alliance’s supply chain, protecting human
rights, supporting diverse suppliers and engaging with suppliers around environmental and social issues


Employee health, safety and wellbeing

Offering benefit packages, workplace conditions and other support systems to help ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of all Walgreens Boots Alliance employees


Prescription drug abuse

Investing in or supporting external community solutions, and/or providing programs, information or other support to communities and individuals in the U.S. and elsewhere, to fight prescription drug abuse


Data privacy and security

Working to protect Walgreens Boots Alliance customers’ and employees’ data and privacy, and investing in the security of information technology systems


Product labeling and transparency

Collecting and tracking product information from suppliers, and providing consumers with the information they care about in a clear, accessible and thorough way


Medium priority


Material Topic


Topic #

Corporate governance

Ensuring Walgreens Boots Alliance is led internally with the highest standards of governance, and that all employees, officers and directors practice sound ethics


Environmental impacts of materials

Working with suppliers to help ensure that raw materials are sourced in the most environmentally appropriate way possible, or eliminated or replaced where environmental impact cannot be reduced



Working to reduce negative impacts of product packaging, including using recycled/recyclable packaging, eliminating chemicals of concern from packaging and other steps


Employee wages and hiring practices

Executing leading hiring practices and offering compensation to Walgreens Boots Alliance employees at all levels and locations, including equal pay across genders and a living wage


Diversity and inclusion

Attracting diverse employees, increasing opportunities for all staff through transparent career progression plans and promoting an agile and flexible working culture


Cancer cure and prevention

Raising awareness about cancer risk factors and prevention, supporting individuals with cancer care, reducing sales of products that are known or at risk to be carcinogenic and/or investing in cancer cure research efforts


Chemical use and management

Selecting safe materials, eliminating ingredients deemed to be a risk, and helping to ensure safe use throughout their life cycle, including sourcing, transport, storage, use and production


Waste management

Responsibly and sustainably managing waste at stores, offices and other facilities, including reducing, reusing, recycling and composting


Community engagement and partnerships

Working with or otherwise supporting nonprofit organizations, community groups and other external organizations to support their social or environmental impact


Animal testing

Reducing or eliminating the testing of products or ingredients on animals whenever possible, and/or contributing to efforts (i.e. research) to support other means of safety testing


Energy use and climate impacts

Working with upstream suppliers and facilities managers to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with Walgreens Boots Alliance’s footprint and supply chain


Lower priority

Material Topic


Topic #

Product end-of-life

Working to reduce the environmental impact of sold products and offering consumers product and packaging disposal information to help protect the planet


Tobacco use

Selling of tobacco products in our stores in North America


Supplier diversity

Procuring products and services from a diverse supplier base to foster sustainable communities



Working to responsibly source products and ingredients in order to reduce deforestation, which destroys plant and animal habitats, affects local communities and impacts climate change


Water consumption and use

Working to reduce water use associated with facilities, to provide consumers with information on proper disposal of flushable products and to reduce ingredients in rinse-off products that could potentially harm the environment


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